VCA Animal Hospitals — poor care of pet
We originally brought our dog in to address issues with her coordination on July 8th, 2019. The attending neurologist was Dr. Casey Berkel and nurse Denise Young. The recommendation was an MRI and a Spinal Fluid sample would be taken to determine the cause of her health issues. After examining the MRI, Dr. Berkel believed the issue was an autoimmune disease affecting the right side of her brain, but the spinal fluid sample would determine 100%. We took her home after a long day and waited to hear back regarding the sample.
When the call came, the Doctor informed us they had misplaced her spinal fluid sample stating that they were very sorry and gave us a refund. Obviously an MRI and Spinal Fluid extraction is very taxing and not something we can just go back and get done again. She assured us from the MRI that it was indeed an autoimmune disease, but we never got the peace of mind that we would've received from the sample. We don't care about the money, we care about her getting the proper diagnosis and treatment that she needs, and this is unacceptable, but we continued with treatment.
As the steroid dosage started to taper off, we noticed changes in her condition, she was suddenly unable to jump on the couch.
September 26th - We scheduled an appointment with Dr. Berkel who did a neuro exam and advised us not to change the steriod dosage as she did fine during the exam. She failed to mention the chances of relapse/warning signs to look out for and prescribed Gabapentin for the pain.
September 28th - Her condition did not improve. We called to see if we could bring Bella in for an emergency appointment, and we were told she could only be seen by an ER doctor.
October 1st - Her condition was worsening. She stayed up all night panting and shaking. We called again and the Nurse told us to increase the dosage of pain medication (Gabapentin).
October 2nd - Her condition continued to get worse. We called AGAIN and got the same answer to increase the dosage of Gabapentin. When we argued with the nurse, asking her to address the REASON this is happening and not to only focus on managing the pain is when she contacted Dr. Berkel and advised us we could slowly increase her steroid dosage.
As her condition worsened, she yelped in pain any time anyone came close to her. We fed her water with a spoon and food by hand. We held her while she peed/pooped outside and she stopped eating. We sat up all night with her while she was panting, shaking, and clearly in discomfort from pain. All of these symptoms were addressed during our calls and we were advised to give Gabapentin every time. We even took her to our vet twice, and we took her to a Animal Chiropractor throughout this whole mess and they would redirect us to the Neuro who clearly did not help.
We rushed her to a different ER at 4 AM on October 3rd, and they contacted the neurologist. At that point, she could no longer stand. She is now on a more aggressive dosage of steroids and additional meds due to her relapse. The neurologist there advised us what to look out for (i.e. small signs such as not being able to jump on the couch).
It goes without saying that we will NEVER be returning to VCA. Even when we called on October 2nd, not once did Dr. Berkel ask us to come in for a follow up examination, and we have not heard anything from them since. It was so hard to watch Bella get worse day by day, and no one wanted to help or felt the need to ask us to bring her in. We still have not heard anything from her doctors since.
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